by Liz Proctor

Always you were angry, flailing, fighting
the fat cats and bigots and destroyers of worlds and secretly I wondered
if the fierce raging burn and acid despair were corroding you leaving your shell
no better than the empty selfish greed you railed against. And I wanted
to take your hand and show you fragile swallows in their nest
and a bright new oak leaf, and I wanted
to tell you to hold onto the dream and still your constant thrashing
against the nightmare. I wanted
to help you love and believe instead of endlessly fearing and preaching the handcart to hell. I wanted
to remind you of the thrush’s song that lifts the morning, the gentle
tongue of a lizard tasting golden summer air, but your bitterness
was a well I couldn’t see my face in or drink from. Galled and hurting,
you cried out ever louder, salty in your destructive calls for peace, or was it war, a drought
spreading through you as I watched your green hope shrivel and crack. I wanted
to bring you back from the edge, from the infinite canyon, and show you
newts, and the smooth entrance to a water vole’s burrow, and the glitter
of dewdrops. All those things you once taught me: the names
of every green and feathered life and what was right and how to stand
up for justice when every other soul was silent. How to make an enemy, how to tie
yourself in taut and tortured knots when they couldn’t see what to you
was the most blinding, obvious, natural thing: that the Earth
matters. And I wanted
to talk you down from your treetop and teach you
in turn: how to whisper, how to listen, how to speak from heart
to heart. How to befriend and disarm. How to see the wonder
of a turquoise shield bug, how to hope.

Liz Proctor | @LizProctor5

Liz Proctor has been writing since she was a child growing up wild in Yorkshire. Inspired by nature, prehistory and everyday family life, her work has previously been published by Earth Pathways Diary, Mother’s Milk Books, Indigo Dreams Publishing (The Dawntreader) and various other works are scheduled for publication this year.

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